Flashguns - Come And See The Lights

Lorcan O'Brien 03/12/2010

Rating: 3/5

I first ran into Flashguns almost exactly a year ago after a support slot at the O2 Academy in Bristol. They were trying to flog their debut EP on the pavement after the show (with great success). A typical group of guys, nothing outrageous or outstanding, but both the performance and the CD stuck in my head; this was a band with a future. Having been on the fringes of indie mainstream (an oxymoron that is far too common) since 2008, it looks as though the New Year just might make that break.

With backing from Rough Trade, and a tour with Bombay Bicycle Club under their belts, Flashguns are currently recording their debut album in a barn in Exmoor before starting an extensive tour of Germany. They have all the ingredients for success, right down to the enigmatic frontman and borrowed nostalgia for the un-remembered 80s. However the question still remains; are they actually good?

Flashguns' new single Come And See The Lights is a fresh take on the much rawer, lo-fi post-punk of their first EP Matching Hearts, Similar Parts. There's a new sense of reflection in the writing, better production and even more energy. Having said that there's definitely something missing, perhaps it's naivety, or perhaps the melodrama of teenage angst that was splattered all over the debut with track names like I Don't Not Love You. You can't help but think these guys are trying so hard to grow up that in shedding their skins and spreading their wings they've either left something behind on the ground or flown too close to the sun.

Lively from the start, a grainy up-tempo riff puts us on familiar ground, grabbing influence from the likes of We Were Promised Jetpacks. The soaring chorus has hints of shoegaze, mixed up with a recognisable Flashguns nod to The Cure and early Maccabees. Obligatory middle-eight breakdown over and time for an epic finish. All this and it still feels a bit empty.

There's no avoiding that Flashguns are a very young band, just out of college in fact. With that in mind, the opening line I know 'cos I've been there, across the great plateaus seems to prompt a certain scepticism. Yes they have matured, but into what? Are they merely a product of a formulaic path to indie success, or something more? That's for you to decide. One thing is certain, this isn't the last you'll hear from Flashguns.